Tuesday, April 23, 2013


 Yarrow-Achillea Millefolium

Also commonly known as soldier's woundwort, Knight's milfoil, achillea, military herb, nosebleed, green arrow woundwort, carpenter's grass, etc.

Parts used:  Leaves, flowers

Meridians/Organs affected:  Circulatory, digestive, lungs, liver

Astringent, diaphoretic, carminative, hemostatic, antibacterial, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, expectorant, diuretic, antispasmodic, febrifuge, antipyretic, vulnerary, emmenogogue, tonic and antiseptic.

Yarrow is a member of the sunflower family.  It has very old beginnings.  Legend has it that Achilles used it for his wounded soldiers (hence its name achillea millefolium after the famous Achilles).  However, it actually was the centaur Chiron who taught Achilles about the plant, or so the tale goes, and the knowledge he gained from his friend Chiron is what saved his men in the battle of Troy (using yarrow that is).  It has also been used as a love charm, for beer making by the Swedes in the place of hops, and by old women as a mystical tea for hair loss due to old age.

Yarrow has a stem with alternating, lacy-looking leaves that are somewhat feathery in nature, soft and green.  The flowers of the wild variety are white and grow in clusters.  (Incidentally, it is the white flowered ones that are the medicinal variety, NOT the colored ones).  The flowers are small and have 5 petals on the tiny heads.  It can grow up to 2 feet in height and flowers from June to November.  It is one of the longest flowering herbs we have.  It can be found along roadsides, hillsides and in low mountain ranges, and is best collected (meaning it is at its most medicinal) between July and August from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   It is drought tolerant and grows well in sunny, dry soil.  In fact, it is said that is one wishes to grow yarrow from seed one should deliberately deprive the plant of water (at least don't water it very much) as it will do better and be more medicinal in the long run if deprived of the water that would normally be given to any plant.

Yarrow is one of the first plants that was in Dioscorede's first-century herbal entitled, 'De Materia Medica', which tells us of its The Chinese have used it for fevers, colds, inflammation and in poultices for wounds.  According to early physicians it has been used since 100 B.C. for agglutinating blood (the clotting and de-clotting of blood, as yarrow works to serve each purpose).  It was carried as a wound dressing by battle surgeons the world over until about the time of the Civil War (1860's).  Yarrow has been used for bleeding hemorrhages, cuts, amenorrhea, menorrhagia, vaginal leucorrhea and poor pelvic circulation.  As it is astringent in nature it has also been used for hemorrhoids to great success.

As one of yarrow's properties is as a carminative, it is also helpful in relieving upset stomach and gas.  Used as a diaphoretic, yarrow will induce sweating, which can be useful in cases of fever or an infection that needs the assistance of a 'sweating' herb to rid the body of toxins.  Some of the constituents in yarrow actually resemble those of aspirin which may explain its use as an anti-inflammatory for rheumatic complaints.  In Asian cultures it is still used today as a decoction for abscesses, stomach ulcers and a lack of menstruation.  The flavonoids in yarrow have been noted to clear blood clots and lower blood pressure.  It has been used for small pox, measles, chicken pox, etc. as it is considered safe for children.  Yarrow also was once referred to as "Englishmen's quinine" for a claimed benefit of being a treatment for malaria.  As it has an effect on the body's fluids, yarrow is said also to be effective in cases of dysentery and diarrhea, colic, cystitis, arthritis and a host of other complaints.

Cooled yarrow tea makes a good eyewash and stimulates the scalp.  The crushed leaves help with both earaches and toothaches.  It is a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, sulfur, sodium, achillein and achilleic acid (the last two substances help to reduce the time it takes for blood to clot which makes yarrow so effective for hemorrhages and acute wounds). 

CAUTION:  Yarrow is contraindicated during pregnancy as it can stimulate uterine contractions.  However, it is VERY useful AFTER childbirth to control bleeding.  It can also make one more sensitive to sunlight so one should be aware of that is using yarrow for any length of time).

As is customary, I am including links below for items involving yarrow you might be interested in. 







Yellow Dock-Rumex Crispus

Also known as curly dock, rumex, sour dock, garden patience and narrow dock.

Parts used:   root (dug during dormancy and dried), fresh leaves

Meridians/Organs affected:  liver, colon, circulatory, digestive, glandular

alterative, tonic, depurant, antiscorbutic, detergent, astringent, cholagogue, aperient, blood tonic, antimicrobial, hepatic, antisyphilitic, cathartic, nutritive

Part of the buckwheat family, yellow dock originated in Europe, Africa and parts of Asia.  Now it is the most widely distributed herb in the world and it can virtually be found anywhere.  This is understandable as one dock plant can produce 30,000 or more seeds per year (yes I did say 30,000 or more) and these can remain dormant for up to 50 years.  So it is easy to see how dock can be found in every region of the world.

To many, yellow dock is considered to be a weed.  In Britian they passed the Weeds Act of 1949 stipulating that farmers (and others) do everything they could to eradicate dock (along with 4 other 'weeds' which were spear thistle, creeping thistle, ragwort and field thistle).

Dock is not particularly a picky plant and will grow in almost any soil.  It can be found in fields, lawns, gardens, etc.

Yellow dock has been known for centuries as a blood cleanser (used by the Chinese, the Indian culture and the Greeks).  In fact, the Greek name for yellow dock is 'lapathum' which literally means "blood purifier".  It has been found that dock with literally change the soil it is in to obtain the iron that is in it.  As such, yellow dock has the most assimilable iron content of any plant in nature.  Hence it's use over the years not just as blood purifier but also as a blood builder and useful for such things as menstrual issues, anemic conditions, blood poisoning as well as any blood borne illness or pathogen.

Yellow dock is a tap-rooted perennial that can grow as tall as 5-6 feet.  It has long lance-shaped leaves that are often curled and alternate on the stem.  The single stem is usually red in color with long clusters of greenish-white flowers (which turn a reddish color at maturity).  Yellow dock usually 'flowers' May to July, but the root is best gathered in the early spring (March to April) or fall (September through October).  It may be gathered anytime of day or night.  The root is a beautiful yellow color on the inside and should be cut or sliced and dried for future use.

The Irish used to chant songs regarding dock to remind them it was/is a remedy for stinging nettle.  In fact, the uses of yellow dock go just as far back for skin conditions as they do for blood issues.  Culpeper (1653) would boil the roots in vinegar for bathing the skin for such conditions as scabs, itches, bites, cuts, sunburn, chronic acne, boils, rheumatic complaints, etc.  The powdered root was used to soothe inflamed gums as well.

The Anglo-Saxons would crush dock leaves in grease (lard or tallow), wrap them in a warmed cabbage leaf and apply this as a poultice to a swollen groin (which is common among sportsmen).  The Tswana women of South Africa would warm the leaves and apply them to swollen breasts during lactation and they were also used as a treatment for hemorrhoids.

The young leaves are high in iron and vitamins and if boiled in two or more changes of water, can be consumed in moderation.  (CAUTION:  This plant is high in oxalic acid AND tannins so if suffering from kidney stones or prone to stone formation you probably don't want to use this plant long term.  Also remember if drinking this as a tea, due to the tannin content please use milk with it so the proteins in the milk will bind with the tannins in the dock and nullify them).

Yellow dock has also long been known to herbalists and nutritionists as a liver tonic and a liver stimulant.  It establishes balance in the liver and digestive tract and stimulates bile flow.  Some people believe it also helps the body eliminate heavy metals.  It does have a laxative effect and has been used as such off and on over the years as it is mild in its working.  It has been used for acid stomach and acid reflux, diarrhea, dysentery, colitis and enteritis.  As it can cleanse and cool the system it is often used in liver detox combinations and for maladies relating to the lymph and spleen (when used in small amounts over a long period of time).

Dock was often used by the Native American Indians for colon and bladder problems, jaundice, inflammation of the glands and glandular issues in general.  It was also taken internally to clear up cases of psoriasis, eczema and urticaria (hives).  It has been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years for cancer and acute leukemia.  It is a good source of B-Complex vitamins as well as vitamin C.  The decoction of the root has also been found useful for thyroid dysfunction.

As usual, I have a host of recipes I use for things involving yellow dock.  If you wish to have those please email me via the site here.  I have also included some links below to yellow dock items you might be interested in.





Friday, April 19, 2013


Raspberry-Rubus Strigosus (wild variety), Rubus Idaeus (cultivated variety), Rubus Villosus, Rubus Leucodermis, etc.
Parts Used-leaves, berries, root bark
Meridians/Organs affected-spleen, liver, kidneys, reproductive organs
Leaves-antiseptic, anti-abortive, anti-gonorrheal, anti-leucorrheal, anti-emetic, astringent, purgative, hemostatic, antimalarial, cathartic, stomachic, tonic, stimulant, alterative, parturient
Fruit-laxative, antacid, parturient, edible
Raspberry has long been used for its culinary as well as its medicinal abilities.  The berries are high in iron, calcium, manganese and vitamin C.
There are at least 20 species of raspberry in the western united states.  The French even have a raspberry liqueur called "Framboise." 
Raspberry is a member of the rose family (just like blackberry).  It can be found all over the usa and usually blossoms in late spring to early summer, with white or cream-colored flowers that have five petals.  They are best collected July-August between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Cut the leaves from the stems when the plant is in full growth and flowering.  To use the root bark, dig up medium-sized plants after the leafy material has died back in the fall.  Wash carefully and strip away the outer bark.  Spread on screens to dry.  (Bark strips can be cut into small pieces for tea or powdered in a blender and mixed with honey in a tea to treat diarrhea).
Raspberry leaves are tonic and astringent and have a special affinity for the female reproductive system.  A tea of the leaves is often used to tone the uterine muscles and prepare one for the birthing process.  It is also useful after childbirth as it helps to control bleeding; in that regard it has been used in cases of heavy menstruation.  It is good in cases of miscarriage as it helps to re-stabilize and restore the body to its former state.  Raspberry leaves and root bark have both been used for diarrhea.  The leaves have been used to reduce fevers, intestinal spasms (which would help with irritation of the colon and bowels), and as an antiseptic-especially assisting with urinary tract infections.  Raspberry may also be of use to diabetics as it has been known to reduce blood glucose levels, as well as helping in the healing process of canker sores and keeping one's teeth, nails and bones healthy due to its high vitamin D content.  (CAUTION-the leaves should only be used FRESH or completely DRIED as wilted leaves are considered mildly toxic).

Wild raspberries are especially high in salvestrols, a class of cancer-fighting chemicals (all the more reason to consume them). 
Raspberry is a plant of many cultures.  In the Greek culture, there is a story involving Ida, the daughter of the king of Crete.  One day while picking berries on the mountain and watching her baby, Jupiter, who was making quite some noise, she pricked her finger on one of the thorns and caused the white berry to turn red; they have been red ever since.  (Aww....the stories of legend.)
Raspberry is also called 'raspis' meaning hairy fruit; it was also called "hindberry."  Female deer would often eat the leaves before, during and after birthing, evidently to help their own birthing processes.  (Interesting to note they know and do this instinctively).
Raspberry tea and vinegar have been used for anemic conditions as it builds blood, helps with colds, flus and diarrhea.  The Chinese use/used the fruit to strengthen the kidneys and treat enuresis.  Dr. Christopher had multiple formulas using raspberry leaves-diabetes, colic, erysepilas, hysteria, indigestion, ophthalmia (as a tea but also has been used as an eyewash), jaundice, mumps, tuberculosis, etc.  A busy little herb and all of the above are good signs of how useful raspberry is or can be! 

As usual, I have included some links below for things regarding raspberries.  If you would like the recipes I have used and found tried and true please feel free to email me via the site. 







Thursday, April 11, 2013


Pine-Pinus Sylvestris, Pinus Strobus, Pinus Ponderosa, etc.

There are over 100 different species of evergreen trees, and many species of pine amongst them, some of which are white pine, scotch pine, ponderosa pine, deal pine, limber pine ad lodgepole pine.

Parts used: inner bark, pine needle, cones, seeds, sap, resin

Meridians/Organs affected:  liver, kidneys, bladder, skin, muscles, joints, lungs, heart, arteries

Properties:  used as an expectorant, demulcent, antiseptic, stimulant, sudorific, restorative, analgesic, anodyne, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antidepressant, aromatic, depurant, antifungal

These lovely evergreens can get up to 115 feet tall with reddish brown to brown and gray bark.  They are the only northern tree believed to have survived the Ice Age and can withstand temps of 40 degrees below or more.  In fact, the largest evergreen forest in the world is in the Artic. 

For your information:
Native to northern Europe and Russia, evergreens can now be found worldwide.  The Greeks would often construct their ships of pine and give them as gifts to Neptune, the god of the sea.  Once found all over Scotland and used as masts for hulking sea vessels, the pine is now a rare find there (so I have read).  The farther north the tree grows, the more potent the oil becomes (distilled from the twigs, cones and needles).

The medicinal uses of pine go back just as far as the culural ones.  In some cultures, the branches were placed on graves of loved ones as a sign of immortality.  The Japanese revere it as a symbol of constancy (as it stays forever green).  Hippocrates used it for throat and pulmonary infectons.  Pliny touted its use for respiratory system.  The Arabs used it to help with pneumonia and lung illnesses.  The Native Americans would used pine needles in their beds to repel fleas and lice and in bath to revitalize the body and ease aching muscles.  Dr. LeClerc stated that pine is not only useful for respiratory infections but also for urinary infections, rheumatoid conditions and the flu.

Pine is another one of those herbs that is what is termed an adaptogen.  It will give the body what it needs at the time.  As it is an anodyne/analgesic it can assist the body with the discomfort associated with gout, sciatica, etc.  It has also been used for prostate disorders, eczema, psoriasis and cystitis.  Due to its stimulative qualities it aids the body in detoxifying the kidneys and liver.  As a negative result of these same qualities pine may also raise blood pressure so those who are on hypertension medication should avoid it.

Some Native American tribes used the tea from pine needles as a contraceptive.  The inner bark was used as a dressing for scalds, burns and skin infections.  (The bark was often removed from one side of the tree ONLY so as to avoid killing the tree).  The edible inner bark was scraped from the tough outer bark and eaten immediately (it is said to be sweet in the spring when the sap is running).  The Native Americans would also collect the inner bark and, if not ingesting immediately, would keep it moist in bags for a few days.  (Too much of the inner bark can also cause stomach aches as it is not easily digested raw, it was usually boiled for this purpose).  The seeds are high in fat and protein and can taste a bit resinous.  They were shaken or roasted from the cones and ground into meal for bread.  The young male cones (unopened) can be boiled for emergency-type food.  (There is some debate over the Ponderosa pine-some say it is highly toxic while others say it is highly medicinal-so, when in doubt, avoid that one as there are plenty of other varieties of pine to choose from).  The young needles of the tree can make an excellent tea and will prevent scurvy as they are high in vitamin A and C.  The tea is best sweetened with honey, maple syrup, agave or molasses and/or spiced with orange peel, cinnamon or nutmeg.  The Navajo used pine tea for fevers and coughs, and to expel phlegm and mucus from the lungs.  Pitch was also used as glue, to waterproof woven containers, plastered in hair for dandruff and burned in torches.  Pine pitch was also applied to arthritic joints, skin infections, sore muscles and any area of inflammation.  It was also heated until it turned black, then mixed with bone marrow (1 part marrow to 4 parts sap/pitch) and used as a salve for burns.

The lodgepole pine was used for tipis and lodges (replaced yearly) and the Plains Indians would often travel hundreds of miles to the mountains to get more poles (25-30 poles per tipi-depending on the size).  The lodgepole pine also was used for making the travois (a simplified pull-type sled) so it was quite popular and still maintains that popularity today as many log homes are constructed using the lodgepole pines.

Pine sap gum has been chewed to clean teeth and as a temporary filling for a toothache.
The resin was used in salves for abscesses, boils, aching backs, rheumatics joints, etc.  The resin has also been used in cough syrups and in ointments for burns and skin infections, in a poultice to draw out splinters and for use on broken bones, cuts, bruises, etc.

Pine oil makes one of the best external treatments for relief from such things as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, coughs, nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys-applied directly to the area), etc.  Pine oil is often adulterated with turpentine (which is actually a part of pine but is distilled off during the proper essential oil making process), so if not making your own, be sure to get 'Pinus Sylvestris' from either Finland or Siberia.  Those are the only unadulterated varieties I have found to date. 

Tar is an impure turpentine made primarily by the destructive distillation of the roots of pine.  Tar is ALSO used medicinally as an antiseptic, diuretic, stimulant and diaphoretic, mostly by vets.  Tar water is given to horses with chronic coughs and tar oil is used for mange.

Combined with uva ursi, poplar bark and marshmallow root, pine is great for diabetes.  A study conducted by Russian scientists found that pine resin inhibited antibodies found in bodily fluids and boosted cellular immunity.  The Colonial Americans used the resin from the spruce tree as a cancer treatment (straight from the tree).  Physicians from the same time period aso used the tar water or ground pine resin in water for smallpox, ulcers and syphilis.  The Chippewa Indians used it successfully for gangrenous wounds.  Pine bark contains one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, proanthocyanidins (20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E) and is second only to grapeseeds in its capacity to fight free radicals.  The primary use of proanthocyanidins is for venous and capillary disorders (retinopathy, varicose veins and macular degeneration as a few examples) but has also shown significant power as an aid for strokes (not for those on hypertensive meds) and heart disease. It has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol.  Other, more recent studies, have also shown it can increase one's oxygen uptake. 

The French have used pine bark extract (which contains resveratrol) since 1950 for coronary issues.  Recent studies also show that patients with osteoarthritis showed a 50 percent improvement when given daily doses of pine bark extract as opposed to those taking a placebo.

Pine cones have been used to make beautiful orange-yellow dye or brown dye depending on the mordants involved (iron and alum in these cases).

Whatever the reason, it is clear that pine has a place in the world of medicinal plants.   It is often overlooked as it is a tree rather than a shrub or a bush.  I think if anything we should take a page from the book of the native americans and drink a cup of pine tea every now and then to provide our immune system with the stimulus it sometimes needs to keep us healthy. 

More than just a Christmas tree....as usual I have provided you with some links below to some items or information you might be interested in.  I do have many wonderful recipes for this tree and if you are interested please email me directly. 









Sunday, April 7, 2013


Plantain-Plantago psyllium, Plantago ovata, Plantago lanceolata, Plantago Major
Also known as Waybread, Englishman's Foot, Ribwort, White Man's Foot, Snakeweed, Devil's Shoestring, Chimney Sweep, Cuckoo's Bread and Ripple Grass (amongst a host of others).
Parts used: root, leaves, flowers spikes, seeds
Meridians/Organs affected:  bladder, small intestine, gallbladder, skin, liver and blood.
Properties:  antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, aperient, antihistamine, expectorant, antivenomous, anti-toxin, demulcent, cooling alterative (yin), vulnerary, diuretic, astringent, emmenogogue, styptic, antisyphilic, deobstruent, anthelmintic, emollient, refrigerant, depurant.
Plantain is a member of the plantain family.  It is found all over the world, commonly where people walk or where there are animal trails (which is where the term "waybread" came from as it is found 'by the wayside').
There are several different varieties of plantain.  The most common are the broad-leaf and the lance-leaf types.  The broad-leaf is oval to rounding in shape with a rounded edge and tip; the lance-leaf is long, tough and sharp-pointed.  The spikes and seeds are where psyllium comes from (commonly used as a bulk laxative).
The best time to collect plantain is May through September, although it may be gathered before or after that (it is just at its most medicinal stage during those months) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The young leaves can be eaten raw, sauteed or boiled for use as a side vegetable or in salads (the young leaves are similar in taste to swiss chard).
Plantain is an amazing herb both in its nutritive qualities (has been said to have a higher nutritive value than most vegetables in the garden) and its medicinal capabilities to heal things where others fall short.  Dr. John Christopher said it is the best plant for blood poisoning that we have.  He stated in his book, 'The School of Natural Healing' that plantain "reduces the swelling and completely heals the limb where poisoning has made amputation imminent."  Quite a powerful little plant!  He gave an example of a man who had blood poisoning where red streaks were running up his arm and he had a large lump in the armpit and was in a lot of pain.  Dr. Christopher bruised some plantain leaves and put them over the man's entire arm.  Within 24 hours the lump and the red streaks were gone entirely.  Tell-tale signs of the power of plantain and its ability to draw out poison.
For your information:
The term "plantago" comes from the planta or 'sole of the foot.'  The Native Americans often used plantain for maladies relating to the foot, including plantar fasciitis.  They would take plantain leaves and stick them in their moccasins or shoes and walk until the leaves dried out and then replaced them with fresh leaves.  Apparently this was very effective for sore feet.  In fact, the Native Americans referred to plantain as "indian bandaid." 
One of the authors of "Backyard Medicine" (Julie-Bruton Seal) used plantain juice mixed with slippery elm powder for radiation burns that one of her friends suffered on their legs.  After several weeks of this the friend was completely healed without need for further treatment.
Plantain poultices also are said to be good for varicose veins and eczema.  Abbe' Kneipp (Swiss herbalist, 1821-97) said of this plant that, "plantain closes the gaping wound with a seam of gold thread; for, just as gold will not admit rust, so the plantain will not admit rotting and gangrenous flesh."
When used with elderflowers and mint, plantain has been proven effective for allergies and hayfever.  Taken as a tea, it has been useful for a number of bronchial maladies including asthma.  The leaves used fresh are an effective antidote for stinging nettle, poison ivy and oak, bites (including poisonous spider and snake bites) stings, pus, cuts, wounds, etc.  Due to its demulcent and styptic abilities among others, it has also been useful for such things as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel, stomach ulcers, sore throats, digestive issues, excess mucous, inflammation, pink eye, boils, staph infections, diarrhea, leucorrhea, hepatitis, urinary infections, blood poisoning, hemorrhoids, gangrene, impetigo, breast and colon cancer, tuberculosis and much much MUCH more!
The fibers in the leaves (especially the older leaves) are very strong and can be pulled away from the leaf to reveal a string like fiber that can be used for thread, suturing or fishing line. (I would personally use the older leaves for these things).
As plantain is an anti-inflammatory (I have used it many times for bee and wasp stings for instantaneous relief) it is great for sprains, swollen joints, strained muscles and sore feet.  Freshly bruised leaves can also be put inside a diaper to relieve diaper rash.
The seeds of plantain have been shown to reduce one's blood cholesterol.  The roots have been used to relieve pain associated with headaches, toothaches and poor gums.
Plantain is very nutritious containing good amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, niacin, thiamine, protein, zinc and vitamins A, C and K (your blood clotting vitamin).
As with all my posts, I have recipes that I use for certain things but I will not publish them here.  If you are interested in them please email me personally via the site.
Listed below are some links to some items you might be interested in.  Be well!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Chicory-Cichoriam Intybus
Also known as Blue Sailor, Coffee-weed, Garden Endive, Blue Daisy, Ragged Sailor, Blue Dandelion and Wild Succory.
Chicory is in the sunflower family and is a close relative of the dandelion.  Its fresh root(s) have been used in Europe and Asia as a coffee substitute long before it was ever used here for the same purpose.  It can be found in fields and on roadsides across the usa.  The root can be gathered any time of the year, the leaves are best collected before flowering.  The young leaves look similar to those of dandelion and have been gathered for use in salads and soups.  Only the young leaves should be used for this purpose as the leaves become more bitter the older they get.  (Chicory is related to endive which is another salad green.)
The roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.  They are also boiled and eaten still today by those living in the mid-east.
Chicory has bright blue (sometimes pinkish white) flowers; it blooms from July to September but it is best collected between June and August from 9 am to 6 pm (when it is most beneficial medicinally).
Parts used:  Leaves, flowers and roots
Meridians/Organs affected:  liver, gallbladder, heart, pancreas, nerves, urinary system
Used as:  tincture, tea, powder, capsule
Properties:  nerve and liver tonic, diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimutagenic
Chicory has been used just like dandelion as their medicinal qualities are very similar.  It is a bit gentler in its effects than dandelion.  Bitter herbs in general increase bile flow and stimulate digestion.  Galen (a Roman physician around 130-216 A.D.) referred to chicory as, "a friend of the liver," for its wonderful assistance to the gallbladder (bile flow) and aid in cases of jaundice and gallstones. It is said that regulary drinking chicory as a tea can prevent gallstone formation. 
Chicory also has a diuretic effect and as such eliminates uric acid from the body which aids in such conditions as gout and rheumatism.  Research has shown that chicory tincture is a great anti-inflammatory due to its chemical constituents.  It is also thought to be of value for cancer, AIDS and viral infections.  The Romans used chicory for blood purification.  It can lower one's blood sugar and sesquiterpene (extracted from the roasted root) is said to have antibacterial capabilities.
According to Jethro Kloss, in his book, "Back to Eden", chicory is effective for disorders of the spleen, kidneys, liver, urinary issues and for upset stomach.  The root tea is said to stimulate bile secretions, assist with skin infections, fever, typhoid, lung problems, etc.  The mashed roots were also used as poultices for sores and fever associated with venereal diseases.  It has also been found in studies with rats to slow the pulse which  may assist with some heart issues for some people.  The flowers have been used in eyewashes for eye inflammation.  The flower heads have been added to soups, stews and salads or have been pickled for eating later on.  Chicory is also grown commercially as a sugar substitute or sugar enhancer as it contains both fructose and maltol.
Chicory is another of the Bach flower essences.  It is the essence used for greedy people who sacrifice themselves in order for others to give them affection and attention.  Chicory is the essence that breaks down one's over-inflated ego, rids one of self pity, and develops emotional independence and helps to restore and rebuild loving human relationships.  It is the essence for true love.
WARNING-Excessive or prolonged used of chicory is said to damage the retinas and slow digestion.  So...if choosing to use it don't overdo it.

I don't think chicory is really used enough in my opinion.  I feel it is often overlooked for more touted plants and most of its usefulness is pushed to the side and forgotten.  I love this herb, not just because it has pretty flowers but because it is useful for a great many things.  Search it out on your own and try some for yourself.  You might just be glad you did.
As always, I have recipes for chicory but I prefer to be emailed for them if you are interested.  I have included some links below to some chicory products you might like to try.